May 2016 News

BJP Under 'pressure' To Slow Down Plan To Rehabilitate KPs In Valley

19 May 2016
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Sumit Hakhoo

Jammu: Pressure tactics adopted by separatist organisations and opposition from mainstream leaders in Kashmir could again derail the plans of BJP-led Central government to go ahead with resettlement of 3.50 lakh displaced Kashmiri Hindus. Official sources said that the way separatists have reacted to the proposal of creating transit accommodation for Pandit youth in Valley, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has shared its concern to New Delhi over possible law and order problems arising in coming weeks. Though several high level meetings were held in New Delhi to discuss the entire gamut of Kashmir issue, especially Pandits in recent months, there is no relative progress as Hurriyat Conference is giving entire plan a 'communal colour' which is finding unlikely support from National Conference and Congress leaders in the Valley. In November, 2015, the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved Rs 2,000-crore package to provide 3,000 state government jobs and 6,000 transit camp units in the Valley for Pandit youth but it is meeting stiff opposition. Amajority of the Pandits feel apprehensive about their future as so far none of the parties, when in power, has shown urgency to speed up process to ensure community is able to again start their life in Kashmir. Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Yasin Malik alleged that there was a conspiracy behind pushing for separate Pandit colonies. 'We will not allow separate colonies for Pandits. They should come back to live in their own areas and villages from where they had left.' A plan announced in 2015 to create composite townships in the Valley was shelved following large-scale protests organised and direct threat from Hizbul Muhajideen. J&K Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) president GA Mir said that the PDP-BJP government had no concrete policy on the issue. 'They are confused and only give hollow statements. BJP leadership at Centre has not given any tangible plan like the Congress announced in 2008. We oppose separate township plan because it will not serve the purpose of again reintegrating the minority community,' said Mir. Similarly, National Conference (NC) has also opposed construction of colonies. The first initiative to allow return of Pandits back in the Valley was taken during the PDP-Congress coalition government in 2004-05 when makeshift transit camps were constructed in several parts of the Valley. As many as 250 units of transit accommodation (pre-fabricated huts) were set up at Vessu (Qazigund), 200 at Sheikhpora (Budgam), 65 at Hawal (Pulwama), 130 at Khanpora (Baramulla), 60 at Nutnussa (Kupwara) and 18 units at Mattan (Anantnag). Then in 2008, then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced Rs 1,618 crore package to rehabilitate Pandits which included employment package for the displaced youth.